New tax office appoints Hopson as comms chief

The UK’s newly merged tax department, HM Revenue and Customs has named former Granada corporate affairs director Chris Hopson as comms director.

Hopson, who joined this week, oversees a 100-strong comms team and will orchestrate its strategy.

The department takes the place of HM Customs and Excise and Inland Revenue, following recommendations made by Gus O’Donnell, permanent secretary to the Treasury.

The O’Donnell Review recommended a department with improved customer services, increased efficiency, clearer roles and responsibilities for tax administration and the transfer of tax policy to the Treasury.

Hopson declined to rule out the possibility of job cuts at the comms department, and said the existing merged structure of the department was under review. ‘There is a chance of job cuts but this is something we are currently working through,’ he said.

The Gershon Review on government efficiency called for the department to axe 16,000 of its 100,000 jobs by the end of 2008, but no decisions have yet been made on where the cuts will be.

Hopson takes over from interim comms director Gary Jones, who has now taken up the post of head of internal comms and marketing. He was previously head of comms at HM Customs and Excise (PRWeek, 17 September 2004).

Former Inland Revenue director of comms and marketing, Ian Schoolar left his post at the end of last September.

Hopson takes responsibility for internal comms, media relations, branding, marketing and customer comms, reporting to the chairman of the department, David Varney.

Hopson joined the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as its first special adviser in 1992. He went on to join Granada Media Group in 1993 as director of PA and in 1996 became corporate affairs director. He left in 1999 to be a freelance consultant for the Department for Educations and Skills

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